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Old friends, new "enemies": QOTD

Let me preface this post by stating that the Ron Artest-Trevor Ariza "swap" isn't a K Brother obsession, Frenemies even if a string of posts over the last several days makes it reasonable to assume otherwise.  It just so happens the particular offseason storyline has popped up organically during some recent threads. Add another to that list.

After Monday's practice, I asked Artest about today's game against Houston, his first time facing the Rockets since leaving their roster. The Lakers being Ron's fifth team, he's certainly no stranger to competing against a franchise that once employed him. Players like to downplay these particular matchups ("It's just another game" being the most popular cliche.), but there's an undeniable charge from going mano y' mano with your old squad. Particularly when the situation involves getting traded or the team opts to let you go as a free agent, the latter applying to Artest.   On the surface, the makings of a garden-variety "gunning to drop 35 on your asses" matchup, but the specifics make things a little different.

Not only is he barely removed from his stint as a Rocket (five games into the new season), but time in Houston helped rebuild Artest's rep as a professional.  Even in a contract year that might prompt his best behavior and an established relationship with Rick Adelman, the "Ron Artest business" was considered a risky one.  The move paid off, as Artest played some of the best ball of his career and was regarded as a team leader, a tag not exactly littering his resume.  In the meantime, an unpredictability more quirky than volatile emerged for Artest.  He seemed genuinely happy in Houston, which hadn't always been the case in the past.  The feeling was mutual as fans mobbed him during the final moments of Houston's first round series against the Blazers. This moment put the "i" in "irony," which wasn't lost on Artest.

As Artest notes on the video below, there was an emotional attachment in Houston that seemingly ran both ways.  In theory, that would mean a warm reception awaits him upon this evening's introduction.  Then again, The Artist Formally Known as "96" was only there one season and is now the "enemy," so he's not quite sure what to expect. Either way, he seems to be approaching the homecoming of sorts with largely good feelings towards the Rockets.

I imagine Artest will get a friendly treatment.  He helped Houston reach the postseason's second round for the first time since 1997 in a campaign devoid of any true drama and didn't quite "skip out" on the Rockets. Injuries to Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady made a multi-year return fairly impractical. Thus, no hard feelings.  Along those lines, Artest's situation is intertwined with Ariza's, which got me thinking.

Eleven days from now, when Ariza hits Staples for the first time as a non-Laker, how would you treat him? Would you focus on his rather sour departure from the organization, the result of negotiations stalemated so quickly hat bad feelings appear to linger?  Trevor played well and hard for the Lakers, but at the same time, the Lakers were also the first team to ever truly believe in him, which some fans may think merits loyalty.  Even if you blame Ariza's agent for pushing him out the door or being difficult to work with, Trevor is ultimately an adult capable of making decisions.  On the flip side, the guy played a large role in bringing a title to L.A. and was a very good Laker. Is that enough to overlook the exit "stage left" details?

Personally, I'd cheer the guy rather heartily. The pleasure I got from seeing that banner raised outweighs whatever displeasure I felt watching Ariza's negotiations play out in frustrating- and in my opinion- unnecessarily ridiculous fashion. Thus, I consider TA in line for some gratitude. But there are some who feel you're either with or against the Lakers  Ariza now qualifies as "against."  Is that too big a sin to forgive?  I predict it won't be for most fans, but you never know. Some dudes I wouldn't have predicted got some razzing from the crowd (Brian Grant?)  I'm curious to hear his greeting.

Also, this video has nothing to do with the game or even the Lakers, but I thought it was worth including. In explaining the origins of his unusual hair cut, partially a tribute to late friend and basketball mentor Mike Chatfield, Artest notes how difficult it can be to escape the pitfalls of inner-city streets, particularly when parents don't play an active, positive role. Interesting stuff.

AK

 
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Initially I was going to vote for Silence. I save all my cheering energy for AK and BK and then thought better of it and voted for Big Applause. Trevor was instrumental in helping us get a title and this Laker fan will always be grateful to him for how well he played his role.

That being said, I want Ron Artest and Kobe Bryant to show him no mercy during the game! Kick his butt and the rest of the Rockets butts like they stole something.

Go Lakers!

"Farmar wasn't in the locker room after the game, having bolted to the team bus before the media was let in."
(Los Angeles Times sports section: 11/4/09)

I look forward to the day his contract expires.

Cheer for Ariza. Incessant booing for his imbecile agent.

Go Lakers!

when the game starts, people who left the team on their own are just traitors who need to lose. that includes Ronny. that includes Shaq. in fact, the entire other team needs to get a beating, even players i like.

when the game starts, ALL the Laker players get cheers, even the ones who aren't my favorite.

Boo his agent. Love Ariza.

Simple as that.

OK - Who's the suck up who voted for the K-Bros?

:)

"I look forward to the day his contract expires."

As do I.

I'll go along with #4 and Kenny - cheers for Trevor, a good guy who always let his play do the talking. Raspberry for his agent who let his talking kill any joy for his client in the immediate afterglow of a championship.

Another thing about our bench - everyone who played yesterday in (-) on (+/-) scale. Do we expect Kobe and rest of the starters to play in average 40+ min per game? At the same time Spurs, for example, limiting Duncan playing time right now. I know with Kobe extention and Pau probably also in works too Mitch probably can not do too much bearing in mind Lakers very deep in red, but at the same time would like to point out, as one blogger already mentioned here, we don't have a bench, we have garbage time players and I dare them to prove me wrong.

- Cheer for Ariza. Boo for Luke. If not for Luke's contract, Ariza AND Artest might have been signed.

- I don't get why anyone would fault Ariza. If the Lakers wanted Ariza, they could have signed him. The front office had a choice between Artest and Ariza, and they chose Artest. Simple as that. It would be unfair to call Ariza a traitor when he clearly wanted to remain a Laker.

I would cheer for Ariza when they give him his ring. When that ball goes up, he'll now be the enemy and I will boo him without feeling any guilt whatsoever. I think that it's just fair to say that he made his bed and now has to lie on it.

more thoughts seemingly,

I thought Edwin had a great post concerning the bench and how to use it---I agree that instead of wholesale substitutions that the bench players need to be mixed into the starters as Edwin suggested,i.e.no less than 3 starters on the floor at any given time--that would give our bench players a lot of leeway for development and confidence and success...

I would think our leads would be less likely to shrink away, and if managed correctly, starter minutes (as well as bench players) would be kept at optimum levels...

most teams don't seem to substitute the way we seem to, but then again most teams don't win the prize as often as Jackson's teams do, so who am I to question his sub patterns...

but I would still like to see our subs playing more with the starters and less with each other (however preverse that may sound)

this team has a lot of flexibility with different combinations of players that, as of this early stage in the season, Phil has not utilized, not saying that he won't, but it would be nice to not have to see the entire bench play painfully together...of course some will say that will eventually expidite their collective development and that could be true to some extent, but it could have just the opposite effect, let alone driving the collective fan base completely out of our collective skulls while the bench "figures it out"...

all in all I think we have some good players on the reserve squad, just don't think they are being put into situations that are ideal for their development or the team's development...

but it is early yet of course and there is much to come, and Phil will eventually realize his working design (which none of us mere mortals are privey to seemingly), the same design that has garnered 10 rings (not counting his minor league ring)...

it will be very interesting to see what, if any, trades Mitch eventually pulls off...I don't think he is done (or is ever done) building this team and this current budding dynasty...

until then I will root for our players to get better and try not to piss myself laughing at some of them, or pulling out the rest of my hair in frustration over some of their shortcomings----easier said than done indeed...

GO LAKERS !!!

clearly wanted to remain a Laker? he needed to keep his agent from announcing that "there will be NO hometown discount" even before negotiation would begin.

i like Trevor, but he's not a Laker anymore. i'm happy for him when he does well, but i won't root for him. i didn't root for Horry on San Antonio's team and he did WAY more for Laker fans than Trevor. i miss him, but he's the enemy now.

OLD FRIENDS.......by Simon & Garfunkel

Old friends, old friends sat on their parkbench like bookends
A newspaper blowin' through the grass
Falls on the round toes of the high shoes of the old friends

Old friends, winter companions, the old men
Lost in their overcoats, waiting for the sun
The sounds of the city sifting through trees
Settles like dust on the shoulders of the old friends

Can you imagine us years from today, sharing a parkbench quietly
How terribly strange to be seventy

Old friends, memory brushes the same years, silently sharing the same fears

K-Bros:

I'm voting for this option, which you very much neglected to mention:

* Hold a sign in the air for all to see, which legibly reads "Trevor, you idiot, you should have dropped David Lee when you had the chance. I have word from a source that he is a zombie and has obviously been living off of your brains."

By the way: Hello, everybloggy!

-REPOST-

Ron Artest- Can be a primary option because he passes better and posts better than TA.

Trevor Ariza- Great complimentary player. Is a primary player in Houston because of necessity.

I may have mentioned this before, but the few comparos between the 2 players takes into account Trevor's 1 1/2 year 100+ game history of being a Laker vs. Ron Artests 11 game, early season history as a Laker. Add to that, Trevor had Kobe and Pau to play off of. Ron, Pau, Kobe, Bynum, and Lamar haven't seen a season game together as a unit. These things take time.

Besides, I distinctly remember that TA wasn't so good at the middle of last season. He couldn't shoot 3s the way he did during the WCFs and the finals. And he was COMPETING with Luke Walton at midseason (meaning that they were equal in some regard).

But we tend to remember the good, since he was an absolute game changer during the Magic series. It the recency effect of memory.

I'm going to give Ron Artest that kind of time/slack because 1) what's done is done (we aren't getting Ariza back) 2) Ron took a pay cut to be here, so I'm inclined to give him a break.

I think yesterday and the game against the hawks showed he absolutely can contribute in meaningful ways already, but IMO, he and his teammates are still trying to integrate. They may just win on sheer talent alone early on, and find their game at about midseason.

Posted by: #4 | November 04, 2009 at 01:57 PM

Trevor will receive a loud cheer from me when he dons his ring. He was a vital cog in our Championship Win last year, so he doesn't get the dislike I save for people like Shaq.

I miss him and wish we still had him. I want him to play out of his head EXCEPT when up against us!

"we don't have a bench, we have garbage time players and I dare them to prove me wrong."

Call them what you like. Without those garbage time players..we don't win a championship last season.


What Laker fan wouldn't applaud as they hand him his ring while playing back his highlight moments from the playoffs?

This was his first big payday. Not like he's an experienced negotiator, he listened to "his people" and got paid.

Loyalties aside, given the early season returns, looks like it worked out well for both teams.

RE: Kobe's critics

I think Kobe’s mentality is – “if you guard me with one player (eg. Sefolosha), I’m gonna shoot and force you to put more defenders on me. When you put more defenders on me, than I will make you pay by creating easy buckets for my teammates”. This was his mentality last season, and it led to a championship.

We saw a great balance between the “gunner” Kobe and the “facilitator” Kobe throughout the playoff series against Denver. He basically took what the defense gave him. His passing became lethal late in the series when Karl was forced to throw 2 or 3 defenders at Kobe on the perimeter, which created layups and dunks for his teammates. Karl would NOT have thrown so many defenders at Kobe if Kobe did not start out the series by killing the Denver defense with his gunner mode. People seem to be freaking out that Kobe is shooting the ball too much, but I would argue that being a gunner will help his facilitating in the long run. I have no doubt that we’re going to see a healthy balance between both versions of Kobe throughout the year, especially after Gasol returns and Artest gets more comfortable in the offense.

Seriously, the dude had over 30 points on 22 shots with the flu. Most NBA players take the game off in that condition, but Kobe plays 40 minutes and gets a W, and you guys are still criticizing his game? Laker fans are just spoiled rotten.

cheer him when he gets his ring?


oh, absolutely!

Ariza was and is a class act. Business is business, his agent played his hand wrong and his client left out to dry. I am sure Ariza regrets the whole process and doesnt think about how much better it is playing for the Lakers. I will be standing and cheering the guy on - he is a major reason we have raised the 10th banner.

Have you guys seen Artest's video on Afghani women? I understand supporting the cause but I would have never guessed this would come from Artest...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tv2tTRg9QuU

Trevor gets a one round of cheers pass.
When Trevor is presented with his championship ring I will cheer for him just like I did the rest of the Lakers and for myself as a fan.

One the ring presentation is over and the congrats are over the it's back to business as usual. Trevor now plays for the other side, the enemy. While i appreciate great play of all athletes, I rarely cheer for the enemy. While I did like Trevor, great kid, no trouble off the court that I know of, he just wasn't here long enough for lasting love.

Trevor gets his ring YEAH!, now he's the enemy BOO!

LakerTruth,

Kobe's style of play last night was unrelated to being sick.

The reason for this valid criticism is that Kobe's tendency to go one-on-many is a limiting factor for the Lakers. The roster will not reach it's full potential with that.

It may not be enough of a limiting factor to keep them from winning a title (i.e. last year, for example) but it might be (i.e. arguably in the Finals vs Detroit).

Let me be brutaly honest - TA signed for the SAME amount with team which has a very little chance to even reach playoffs this year vs. championship home team. No discount? Common he is not a child anymore, he is grown men with family, and his own brain and smart enough to decide Houston vs LA.

I'll be cheering when he gets ring, after that -
The One Who Not With US, He Is The ONE Who Against US

I think people must think that the player has a lot of input and is privy to all aspects of contract negations as they are going on. Thats not how it works, players pick an agent, the agent is usually the only one that talks with the GM, half the things discussed between the agent and the GM are never told to the player, in Trevor's case, he found out on day two that his agent had played hard ball from the get go, demanded big money and told Mitch he wouldn't be a Laker for less than 8 million and Mitch had plan B by day two, by then it was too late for Ariza. SO I DON'T BLAME ARIZA, other than he should have had a more skilled agent.

Ex,
"Kobe's style of play last night was unrelated to being sick.

You are right, but Kobe's style of play to start the game resulted in a double digit lead on the road. I doubt there were many critics of Kobe's game after the first quarter when he was hitting most of his shots. If he made the same percentage of shots in the second half and the game was a blowout, I don't think we would even be having this discussion. I'm guessing Kobe feels he has to carry more of the scoring burden with Gasol out and Artest not yet comfortable in the offense.

I understand that this style of play can lead to additional losses, but as the last two year have shown, it can also lead to winning games that the team has no business in winning. All I'm saying is that the team cannot shelve the "gunner" Kobe in the archives and turn Kobe into a Nash type facilitator. There has to be a balance between the two styles, and I think Kobe did a pretty good job of finding that balance for the past two seasons. Is it sill a work in progress? Sure, but I just find it unfair that he gets so heavily criticized whenever he shoots poorly (although any NBA player would love to score 31 points on 21 shots).

First of all, anybody who won't applaud trevor ariza tonite is a plastic tool. And this trevor-artest talk is actually getting on my nerves a little bit. It's useless talk really. Everybody know's the real reason we got artest is to guard melo, lebron, and ultimately paul pierce.

As for tonite, it's going to be tough but artest has an inside on what adelman's doing with that offense. Ariza is not going to score 20 on artest so really its about fish, farmar, and shannon trying to play some d. Final score 102-99, Lakers.

Ohh that was fun, I feel like colin.

Ex,

Your valid criticism would be more valid if Kobe hadn't shown over the last two years we went to the finals that he knows how to get and keep everyone involved. The most recent past actually validates what Laker Truth is saying as oppposed to all of the knee jerk reactions after last night's game. One game doesn't represent a body of work nor does it eliminate all the great things Kobe just did to make sure we not only got back to the finals but won it.

And I agree sickness had nothing to do with Kobe's play last night, a stifling defensive effort by the Thunder had everything to do with it.

Love Ariza. Miss him a lot. Lakers will still win the championship without him though.

I'm with you Fan, I will cheer because he helped us win a title, but show no mercy against him!

Ariza had good chemistry with the other Lakers. He is tough too. (Remember Portland.) Artest is a very good player, but in the long run I would have signed Ariza over Artest. But hey, Dr. Buss knows what he's doing and has grown less patient with b@##%!$t agents.

The new Lakers remind me of the talent packed Laker team with Karl Malone. Even though that team didn't win the Championship, when they played well in the mid-season, they were one of the best basketball squads ever when they were on.


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